Remember the “good old days” when interns were little more than free labor? (If you were an intern during that time, you may disagree about how good the old days were.) In fact, so many employers abused the internship concept that the U.S. Department of Labor stepped in to establish the following six criteria that you must meet to prevent an internship program from running afoul of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) and triggering FLSA’s minimum-wage and overtime provisions.

  • The internship experience is designed principally to benefit the intern.
  • Interns do not displace regular employees, but each works under the close supervision of existing staff.
  • The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the employer’s facilities, must provide training similar to that which interns would receive in an educational environment.
  • The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the interns’ activities and, on occasion, interns’ activities may actually impede the employer’s operations.
  • An intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
  • The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

But that’s not all you need to consider:

A recent report reveals that a major publishing company – Condé Nast – has revised its mandates for unpaid interns in an apparent response to recent unpaid-internship lawsuits reportedly filed against Hearst Corporation and Fox Searchlight Pictures. Condé Nast’s rules hold that unpaid interns:

  • Must receive college credit for the internship.
  • Must be assigned to an official mentor.
  • Must complete an HR orientation about where to report mistreatment or unreasonably long hours.
  • May not intern at the company for more than one semester per calendar year, unless cleared by human resources.
  • Must only work on tasks related to their internship assignment; personal errands are not allowed.
  • Can only work until 7:00PM.
  • Will be paid stipends of about $550 per semester.

While these rules seem to comport with DoL criteria, they go beyond it. Should you do the same? You may want to check with an attorney to be sure. In the meantime, you may want to obtain the DoL internship factsheet ( and/or obtain ASFE Practice Alert 43.